Spill The Wine – Mobile & Not-So-Mobile

STW took off on Tuesday, actually ahead of schedule. I’m stuck with this view for awhile. And A/C. And a pool. And great Wifi. Maybe it won’t be so bad.

Fill the Bilge!

Lynn is loading up the bilge spaces in preparation for our ocean crossing.  There will be nowhere left to hide food!  Or cookies…

Colorful La Cruz Natives?

On our left Lynn. She and her husband John Ringseis used to run a charter catamaran in the Caribbean.  She is a vegetarian and I am trusting her with the menu. Hold on Tight!

On our right my wife Nancy is managing ground support and is a high contributor for preparing Spill The Wine for the crossing.

And they light up the dock!

San Pancho Sunset



Can you photograph a green flash?  My money is on No.  But there it was.  Blink and you’ll miss it!  We were here with friends Toby and Allison who are visiting from Seattle.  The joke is our Renton friends Melinda Lawrence and Katie Overbeck were in the next restaurant over taking pictures of the same Sunset we were.  We never did figure that out until all the photos got posted.  Small world or something.

San Pancho Sunset, Brilliant way to celebrate the defeat of the Talking Toilets!

The Attack of the Talking Toilets


The Attack of the TalkingToilets indeed!

Toilets on a boat don’t talk. Or rather they shouldn’t talk. And if they do they speak a language most of us understand as Odor.

There are 2 inch valves that drain the holding tanks. They were old. And they were leaking. Without going into too much gruesome detail, that makes the system malfunction in ways that encourage odor. I knew the valves had to be replaced. On my last trip to Seattle I went to Fisheries Supply in Seattle to round up the necessary valves and assorted other parts. Then to the hardware store to acquire an 18” pipe wrench. Really annoying as I just sold mine with the rest of our household goods. Bother. Then package everything up along with a few select IPAs that Mexico does not have, and travel on.

Step one was to drain and hose out the holding tanks. Maybe a little Chlorox to sweeten them! Hmmm… Maybe a little more….

Step two was to remove the TalkingToilets. Relatively straitforward.

Step Three was to remove the 2 inch hoses that leads from the holding tank to the old valve. Bugger that one as the hose is quite stiff. Even at 95 degrees. But we got that done.

Step four was to remove the valves themselves. Tricky that while the boat is in the water. Those valves keep the sea out of the boat. Remove them and you have immediate issues. So corks had to be put into the outlet on the hull of the boat. Its just below the waterline so a mask and snorkle are handy. Now you get Mr. pipe wrench out and go to town. The access here is rather limited. But one microturn after another and eventually the valves are out. And the sea is not coming in. The corks worked! Thread dope and new valves go on nicely. But still one microturn at a time. Dang! Its hot in the bilge.

Step five was to put the hose back on. Stiff bugger! Hose clamps. Now the corks are removed. No Leaks! Its a good day.

Step six was to reinstall the now mute toilets. New rubber parts all around for them. Clean the bathrooms and presto! Like new!

Thus quoth the Talking Toilets. NeverMore.

Pelicans Grow on Trees


I want you to look carefully at this tree. It is full of pelicans. Proving that they grow on trees! Crazy Mexicans and their GMO pelicans growing on trees! Who knew.

Beyond that it was time to inflate the dingy and exercise the outboard. I just replaced a little rubber boot on the carburator last week. And today it would not start. Pfft!

I spent some time thinking about it and the unavoidable conclusion was that I screwed something up when I replaced that boot.

After some investigation I discovered that there are two ways to reassemble the needle valve slide. I picked the wrong one. But quick fix and touring the marina was great exercise! (For the equipment…)

Of Friends and Good Brown Dogs

img_0853Cayla is a good brown dog

I have been rooming in a wonderful AirBnB flat with my friends Christian Holm, Lynn Swycaffer Ringseis, and her husband Captain John.

The owners are traveling so we feed the landlord’s dogs. They come in to our apartment. Probably not usually allowed. We love spoiling them. I think they have adopted us.


Unfortunately, when we want to leave our flat, Cayla the German Shorthaired Pointer becomes inert. The only way to evict her is to carry her out with legs in the air.


But then I am going to get a history of being cruel to dogs that don’t behave!


Lynn and John discovered the dangers of La Cruz’s cobblestones and the healing powers of flowers.

Thank You Jesus

img_0851I was trying to trick this local into wearing my hat. Let me tell you, that did not go well! No interest at all. But pizza crust? Anytime.

This was loser day for me. Left my bag and guitar in our guide “Jesus”‘ suburban. Then visited Jeffrey and Jeanne Forrey at Vallarta Torres. Pretty sure I did not lose anything there. But I  had not figured out that my bags were still on tour.

Stopped at the boatyard to close the windows as rain was predicted. Bags’ missing condition identified. Fortunately they were recovered from Jesus our guide. Thank you Jesus.

Bags in hand and taxi to La Cruz. Driver was fun. He used to work at Vallarta Torres and told me to say hello to Abraham. At La Cruz he wanted to check out my little backpacker guitar. He and I played a couple things in the street and said goodbye. As he was getting into his cab, Lynn says “jah get your bag out if the trunk Chris?” Now there’s a good idea…

Later on in the house we decide it’s wine thirty. And I realize that the last place I saw my phone was in the cab. For the love of….

OK, turns out cab driver knew Jesus. And delivered my goods to him. And I got a personal email from Jesus. He does that for losers.

I just picked up my phone this morning on the way to the boatyard.

Thank you Jesus. He saved me again.

Lost a GoPro, Found a Reef

You are looking at the keel in the foreground. It was removed to access the hull it was bolted to. Possible damage from collision with reef? We will see.

As the sun comes up, an offshore wind builds. Not quite enough to sail on so motorsailing is the path. I expect winds to die about noon. Good time to swim! Later in the afternoon I expect a onshore wind to fill in.

The eggs have been in the bilge for 3 weeks. They are a bit on edge but scramble well. Bread, coffee, water, pineapple, cactus/orange/celery juice. I’m south of Isla Isabela now. It’s 0830 and 43 miles to La Cruz.

0915: The dolphins are back. They are playing by the bow.


I thought it would be fun to put GoPro under the water to film them. Now GoPro has two cases. One is waterproof and has rather poor sound reproduction. The other is open and sound is better. But it is not in the least bit water tight.

What did I learn today? Something I hope. GoPro is drying in the sun. Not having high hopes for future functionality but you never know.

The dolphins are still with me. Maybe they feel sorry for me. I take a shower on the swim step so we can all be wet together.

The wind has died per pattern. Stow the sails and Time to Swim. I take my mask and fins in and check the condition of the bottom. Got some barnacles hey. Not a lot but some. Zincs are getting tired but still have some life left. Surprising as they went on a year ago. So in the tropics your zincs last longer, but your bottom grows way more stuff. Net zero. And there is a bunch of plastic sheeting wrapped around the prop shaft. Odd. It was not vibrating or exhibiting any other strange behavior. Maybe it was those delinquent Dolphins! Anyway chop chop flick flick with Mr. knife and all is well. Motoring on waiting for the onshore wind pattern to take hold.

Well it never did. Humph! Very light winds and motoring into Banderas Bay.

And the sun went down. And I turned a corner at Punta Mita. And I turned it poorly. There is a reef. And I found it. BAM! The only time I wished I had a seat belt on in my boat. AyYiYi!.

The eggs in the bilge broke. So I backed away from the reef. Boat seemed to perform normally. And I did a better job of turning the corner having failed so badly on my first go. Jesus when will I learn that looking at the chart is ok. Just don’t trust that bastard! Dark does not help either.

It is good to be smart and it is good to be lucky. Being stupid and unlucky on the same day does not go well.

Anyway I checked the bilge and there were no leaks. A good sign.

The day after, supermoon came up and the rest of the trip was not so dark. But no less interesting…

I entered the marina. No clue where slip 10B – 9 was. I thought I would take the first open slip and just stroll about and see if I could find said slip.

Getting tied up at the slip was hard. Boat did not want to get very close to the pier. I thought it was current. Anyway tied up with the help of one of my neighbors. Nice fellow named John. Found my slip and John offered to help me tie up there.

So I started the motor and untied from the dock. I took a minute to move some lines from one side of the boat to the other to be ready for the new slip. Current must have gone away. Boat just sat where it was. Miracle!

Time to go so into reverse. Funny noise. Then the motor stopped. Prop chewed a line somehow.

It becomes clear that moving to my assigned slip that night was off the menu. John and I get to looking around. Some fisher bastard put a net across the slip opening for this and four other slips! No wonder the boat did not want to move! He caught a bigger fish than he had planned.

Marina security guy comes along and he is very annoyed about the poor behavior of said fisher bastard.

Ok so here I am for the night. Kind of a crappy week. President Trump, dead GoPro, Reef, fishing net… what next??

Hopefully good stuff next. I mean the VOSH trip was cool! C’mon lets keep the positives rolling!!

Seriously my spirit is damaged. All of the above have taken a toll. The boat can be repaired. The camera can be replaced, the fishing net was untangled from my prop while I slept.

President Trump. That is still broken. The Klan’s man is still the president elect. And non white males of every stripe will feel the wrath of the angry white males. I wonder if he’ll get a Nobel Peace Prize? I don’t really.

Anyway I need to focus on the broken bits that are within my power to put right. Working on getting the boat fixed is next order of business. And on from there.

Strolled into town tonight and had a shrimp taco and an octopus taco. And they were great. The beers were so cold that one of them was quite frozen. Kinda chewy.

Super Moon for Company Tonight

Dawn of the sparrows! Guess it’s boat wash time again…

I met a couple of guys in a catamaran here at the dock… a friend of theirs had purchased the boat as it was retired in the charter Fleet in the British Virgin Islands. They are in the process of moving the boat from Costa Rica to San Diego. Lots of interesting mechanical issues are keeping them busy… the boats charter career took a toll.

Checked out of Marina Mazatlan at 0900. Ran into Steve and Marilyn from Tocatta. Good to see them again. They’d just arrived and were bending their sails back on just this morning. I remember that feeling. A good one!

Left the dock at 0930 and motored out into the estuary. I remembered to put on the rudder for the windvane pilot. There might be enough wind for that later, who knows. And putting that rudder on in a seaway is tricky. Best done in still water.

Motored along until 1100. Then an onshore breeze filled in and sailing I am. Making about 4 kts in the morning.


Wind piped up in the afternoon for 6 kts. Not going to break any records but it is a very nice day sailing along and riding the swells.

Later in the evening the wind fades and it is time to motor. Good timing really and I make a salad and light the Big Green Egg. New York is on the menu. I found some smoking chips in Mazatlan. Ran out of those awhile back and it was tastier than it had been in awhile.

Sea state gets lumpier and the ride is not having such a predictable rhythm. Too bad but the dishes are done and it is not a problem.

Spending the entire night in the cockpit was unfortunate. I am still looking for a posture that can be comfortable for such a duration.

Super moon for company. Only the brightest stars can be seen due to the serious moonlight. And visibility was excellent! No boats sighted all night.